Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has reacted after the Supreme Court nullifed President Muhamamadu Buhari's Executive Order 10.
Fayemi who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) faulted Buhari's aides saying they misadvised him.
He revealed this in an interview with Channels Television on Monday.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had signed Executive Order 10, granting financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary in the 36 states of the federation.
Days after signing the order, Buhari suspended its implementation and empowered the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct funds allocated to states.
Following the suspension, the governors expressed their reservations and approached the court to prevent the arbitrary removal of funds from the federation allocation to the states.
On February 11, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled against the President and declared the Executive Order unlawful and unconstitutional.
Speaking further, Fayemi said the President was misled by some of his aides and officials after meeting with the governors to discuss the implications of his assent to the Executive Order.
He said: “We felt that Mr President was misadvised by his officials who asked him to go for Executive Order 10.
“We said as much to Mr President and he was gracious enough to ask that our position be considered when he asked the Chief of Staff to set up a meeting between me, my vice-chairman, as well as the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Federal Minister of Finance.
“At that meeting, we stated this position that we were only going to court to ensure that this does not become a precedent in which the federal government can go into the federation account and remove funds belonging to the state in an arbitrary manner.
“That is the principle we are after. We are not after stopping our commitment to judicial autonomy and our discussion and agreement with the conference of speakers and the national judicial council.”
Commenting on the court ruling, Fayemi appreciated the apex for granting the wishes of the governors, expressing his colleagues’ commitment to financial autonomy for state judiciary and legislature.
He said the forum remains committed to its position on the agreement reached with representatives of the judiciary and legislative workers in 2021 on financial autonomy.
The NGF chairman disclosed that all state governments have incorporated the financial autonomy for state judiciary and legislature in their 2022 budget.
He said: “Let me state upfront that governors are committed to the agreement we reached with the representatives of the legislature and the judiciary, in the presence of the Honourable Minister of labour and employment, that the memorandum of understanding we reached is sacrosanct.
“We are not changing our position on that. Virtually, all state governments have incorporated this in the 2022 budget. Autonomy is on course. There is no running away from that in principle position that the NGF and my other governors have taken in all the states.
“However, we were after a principle — this is a democracy that is founded on the rule of law and on the extant position of the constitution. The constitution has already stipulated clearly how the notion of judicial and legislative autonomy should be addressed.“